Photo: Kim Bhasin, Business Insider
Today there are countless ways employers can recruit candidates. But with the shift toward social media, the process can get pretty complex — and time-consuming.To help employers sort through this, we caught up with Alison Doyle, About.com’s careers expert since 1998, who recently published her third edition of Internet Your Way To A New Job: How To Really Find a Job Online.
What should employers be doing online to recruit quality candidates?
There are a lot of tools for companies. I think one of the challenges, especially in this economic climate, is managing the recruiting process effectively because of the numbers in the applicant pool. Many employers are getting hundreds of applications for every available position, so in some cases employers actually may want to pull back on the outreach they’re doing to recruit, just to manage it a little better.
As far as tools to do it effectively, LinkedIn is one of the best tools an employer could use.
Social media is the new way that many employers are starting to recruit, by setting up branded pages for recruiting, for example on Facebook. Many companies have pages dedicated to recruiting, so applicants can go there, see available positions, they can even click on job listings and get into the system to apply for those jobs. Google+ just released company pages, so companies can now set up a brand page there as well, which is another way of reaching applicants through social media.
A lot of companies have dedicated Twitter feeds just for recruiting. In addition to having a general company Twitter feed, they’ll have a recruiting one where they’ll push out job listings.
For the most part, recruiting takes place online in some way, regardless of the positions that companies are hiring for. Unless it’s a very small, local employer, most companies direct applicants to their websites to apply for jobs.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of recruiting online?
The more outreach you do, the more exposure you have. Especially in a down market where the unemployment rate is so high, the challenge is then to manage that applicant pool.
The benefits are several.
When you’re pushing out your job openings via social media or a posting on LinkedIn, you’re reaching a pool of candidates who are interested in your company already. If candidates are following you on Twitter, you’re starting a little bit ahead of the game because you’ve got candidates who are already aware of your company. You’re also increasing your online presence as an employer by using all these different tools.
Mobile is another way employers are recruiting. Apps are available for iPhone, Android, iPad. It’s important for companies to reach those candidates who may not necessarily be sitting in front of a computer, but are checking on their phone. You can even apply for jobs on a phone with a lot of these apps, so be cognisant of mobile.
What does the future of hiring look like and how can companies prepare?
It’s important to stay on top of what’s happening and how you can use all these tools to get to applicants.
Make decisions on which ones you want to use, because you don’t want to overwhelm yourself with candidates. You’re looking at a time commitment as far as having to manage your presence on all these sites as well. Come up with a plan on what you’re going to use and then be cognisant of how the industry is changing, how recruiting is changing, and then decide from there what you want to add on, what’s working, what’s not working for you, as the employer.
How much time should companies put into hiring?
There has to be a balance and I think the challenge is to find out what that is. You could have full-time employees sitting there, tweeting out job postings all day. You could have that automated, too, if you have the right tools. But again, you have to get all these systems in place. And if you’re a company who’s getting more than enough applicants through your company website, then you may want to have a presence on social media — a Twitter page, a Facebook page, a Google+ page, a LinkedIn company page — but you may not need to do any more than that, given the applicant pool out there is so large.
The goal is to get candidates that are as close a match as possible to your requirements for the job, and you may be able to use some of these tools to get to those who are the best fit, without getting hundreds of [extraneous] resumes, like if you posted on job boards.
It’s an individual decision-making process for the company. For some, it may not work, based on what market you’re in, what type of applicants you want. A company seeking high-level applicants, they’re more likely to be using social media. But if you’re retail, you may get enough just by having your company website, where they come to you to apply — especially for big-name companies.
Do you sense that there will be a shift toward using online platforms for those employers, like big-name retailers?
I think that’s the future of hiring. It’s going to move more and more online, where companies have applicant-tracking systems. The applicant will go online, apply through the company website or a job site, and that will be integrated with social media. There are companies who are doing that already so they can see where they’re getting applicants from, and then focus on using those tools.
What are the benefits and drawbacks for job-seekers themselves?
Some of it is the same challenge it is for the employers. It’s really hard to keep track of all the apps you can use. There’s a lot of resources out there for job searching, but you don’t want to get sucked into what can be a black hole of spending all day sitting there tweeting things.
The other part of it, that goes for the employers and job seekers, is it takes time to build a media presence, to follow people on Twitter, to get your name out there, to brand yourself. That’s something that you may want to do one step at a time. Don’t wait until you get laid off to start building an online presence, from the job-seeker’s perspective. It’s so much better to get all that in place ahead of time then having to scramble if you unfortunately decide you need to find another job in a hurry.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Make sure you focus your efforts and you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Use the online tools that will help you to effectively source candidates. You need to use what works for you. And some of it, you don’t need to use. Don’t feel like you have to use everything just because it’s out there.
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